Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2910 ..
ways and many different investments that we can make to keep Canberrans safe and healthy. I am proud and impressed to see substantial investment in this government’s budget to do just that.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.49): I commend Mrs Jones for bringing this matter before us today and thank her for her tireless advocacy for nurses and all the other hardworking staff at the Canberra Hospital and across our health system. I know that she cares passionately, and I am sure this is not the last motion of this sort that she will be bringing before us. Certainly, it is reflective of a number of motions that, sadly, when I was shadow health minister I brought before this place. I was the shadow health minister between 2008 and 2016. She is probably the only one here that remembers those days. It is sad to see that many of the issues that Mrs Jones raised today in her motion are the same problems that we had over a decade ago.
It is very disappointing to see the Greens, in their response, ignore the issues that she has raised and make a sort of health stump speech. It is more befitting, perhaps, of a budget reply than a response to the very serious issues that she has raised. Perhaps ignoring it is better than what the minister did, which was to simply deny the issues that Mrs Jones raised and move amendments that basically rewrite Mrs Jones’s motion. That is not something that the opposition will support because it ignores the very serious issues that have been raised.
It is a very sad story that has got us to this point, Mr Assistant Speaker, and there has been over a decade of fiasco from this government. After the 2008 election this government came up with a plan to buy Calvary hospital. It is owned by the Little Company of Mary. Calvary runs it. The government decided that it was going to buy the hospital. We wasted years of any development and planning when the then Stanhope government decided it was going to buy Calvary Public Hospital.
That did not happen. But what did happen is that we wasted a term of government with inquiries through the health committee and options papers that were put out. We wasted time and realised at the end that they were not going to do it. They could not get it done and they decided not to. The government then said, “We’ll abandon those plans. We’ve wasted years. We are going to rebuild the Canberra Hospital.” Back then they called it the capital asset development plan. The health minister of the day, Ms Gallagher, said, “We’re going to rebuild the Canberra Hospital with a new tower block. We’re going to put an $800 million investment into the Canberra Hospital.”
Back then that was the biggest investment before the tram was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. The government put money against the budget. They put $375 million in the outyears for stage 1 and they put $41 million into the budget for forward planning. That was an election commitment that the Labor government went to in 2012: “We’re going to rebuild the Canberra Hospital; we are investing $800 million; here’s $41 million in the budget; we’re going to do it.”
We then had the 2012 election. The Greens joined forces with the Labor Party and the Labor Party and their Greens colleagues broke the biggest promise in ACT history. They said, “We are not going to rebuild the Canberra Hospital.” They took the $41 million out of the budget, the $375 million out of the outyears, and they broke